Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open source project designed to improve the loading speed and readability of content for mobile users. Think of it as an upgrade to mobile-friendly pages. According to Google, AMP aims to improve mobile experience by getting information to load instantaneously, including rich content like video, animations and graphics.
Several major publishers and platforms use AMP on their content, including Twitter, Buzzfeed, the Guardian and Huffington Post. These platforms often appear in Google’s “top stories” carousel, a slider at the top of search results that highlights webpages built with AMP related to the search query.
[Image of Google’s “top stories” carousel]
How does AMP work?
Google is able to automatically cache and pre-render AMP-enabled pages, meaning it doesn’t have to fetch content from the publisher’s server each time a user visits the page. This way, pages load instantly upon clicking. To reduce the bandwidth and CPU use to preload AMP content, only the resources above the fold are pre-rendered.
Who needs AMP?
AMP was originally intended for news stories from online publishers. This is the primary content mobile users currently see in the “top stories” carousel of search results. However, AMP has since moved beyond news stories, and is now suitable for recipes, travel guides, entertainment sites, e-commerce sites and advertisers.
In reality, anyone with an interest in improving their online visibility should consider using Google AMP. Both Google and mobile users will continue to favour websites that offer great user experience, and page loading speed is a major component of this.
If you are unsure on whether you should be implementing AMP, please discuss this with your SEO agency who will be able to advise and point you in the right direction.
How does Google AMP affect SEO?
There is no sign that Google considers AMP to be a direct ranking signal. However, AMP can indirectly influence where Google places pages in search results.
Page loading speed
Great content is essential for any website, but if the page doesn’t load quickly the majority of visitors will leave before reading it. When a page loads quickly, the user is more likely to read the content on the page and then visit other pages on the site, thus reducing bounce rate.
There’s a significant correlation between page loading speed, pageviews, bounce rate and search rankings. When page speed increases, particularly on mobile, and bounce rate is reduced, Google will reward the page. Therefore, it’s likely that AMP pages rank higher than non-AMP pages in the long run.
Increased visibility on mobile
After the success of its “top stories” carousel, Google continues to release similar features to improve mobile search results, such as the recently released “live coverage” carousel. This gives websites with AMP pages an opportunity to appear above the fold on mobile, something that has become notoriously difficult to achieve.
AMP pages that appear in organic results are often identified by a small green AMP symbol. Over time, mobile users will start to favour results with this symbol as they’ll realise that these pages load quicker than typical mobile pages. Therefore, this could lead to an improved click-through-rate.